They called us the “Back Eight.”
The sorority house had a front unit that consisted of two suites of four on either side of the first floor, and their matches on either side of the second floor. The second floor balcony overlooked a large front “living room” that accommodated several couches, chairs, tables and a fireplace. There was also a stairway that led to a basement, which we used for “entertaining.” Tucked near the back of the basement area was a small stairway that led up to a small living area. It had a small lobby, and two double rooms on the first floor and two double rooms above it. It housed eight. Hence, the “back eight.”
They said it in such a way that made us feel like the cousins you wanted to hang out with, but the ones your parents didn’t REALLY approve of. We were the friends that were a bit too much fun to be around, and couldn’t possibly be a good influence.
We became a teacher, a journalist, an accomplished electrical engineer, a corporate loan officer, and a successful investment banker.
Yep. We were not good influences, indeed.
We weren’t treated badly; as a matter of fact we felt love on a daily basis from our respectable sisters, but also knew that often our antics were just too much to bear.
We shared stories last weekend that frankly I wouldn’t have remembered if my heart hadn’t been reminded, or I would have even admitted to had I not lived it myself.
It all came flooding back, rolling in on a sea of laughter.
“Bebop,” Sally said to me, “You DO remember the hairy buffalo punch fiasco, right?” (I had been called Bebop from the first week of freshman year, and honestly I don’t think anyone on that campus ever knew my real name. Save for my gymnastics coach, who had a few other choice names he would call me on those mornings I drug myself to a 7:00 a.m. practice with the slight bit of a headache.)
She continued her story, the group of us waiting with giddy anticipation. “You guys would line a laundry basket with a plastic liner, and dump in anything you could get your hands on. Coke, Ice Tea, Kool-Aid, oranges, apples, peanuts, whatever you could steal from our fridges! Then you would put in other ingredients that may or may not be the same ones that you put into a Long Island Iced Tea. Any of THOSE that you could scrounge (i.e. steal) from around the house.”
“Well, we were having the alumni in for a special weekend, many of the founding sisters, and we had you guys make your famous punch. We had the house all cleaned, and wanted to make a great impression. “
“I walked some of the sisters over to the punch, and started scooping it out into the cups. Imagine my surprise when a SOCK fell out into one of the cups. Yeah. A soaking wet SOCK. We made a GREAT impression that night. And that was the LAST time we asked you guys to make the punch.”
I’ll take one glass of punch. Hold the sock.